A new diagnostic test identifies the heart attack risk of a patient just by detecting gut bacteria. The patient is taken a blood test which then confirms if heart attack is possible within 30 days up to 7 years in the future. The test is currently being used in US hospitals to easily predict coronary risks of all patients admitted in the ER.
Developed by scientists at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, the test has been available in the US since February last year. Just recently, a series of trials were conducted at four hospitals in Switzerland to determine the likelihood of using the test in European hospitals. Around 1,700 patients with history of heart disease took part in the trial.
The findings showed that patients who demonstrated the highest levels of enzymes produced by a specific gut bacteria had six times more likelihood of having a heart attack within a month and even up to six months. They were also predicted to have double the risk of dying within seven years, the Daily Mail reports.
Aside from heart attack risk, the patients were also found more likely to suffer from stroke and ultimately death. All these health risks can be effectively predicted from a single blood test that costs 45 pounds. It is found to be efficient in predicting short term and long term threats of serious heart complications.
The specific molecule produced by the gut bacteria is called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). It is linked to the development of blood clots in arteries that consequently blocks major heart vessels as well as arteries in the brain. Prolonged blockage of these major arteries is what causes heart attack and strokes, which if occurring severely leads to untimely death, the Web MD says.
Given the health crisis currently being experienced by a major population of middle aged people in England, this simple test can be an effective tool in preventing deaths caused by heart diseases. After being diagnosed by the test, patients can immediately be rushed for scans and treated properly to prevent further cardiac stress. Health experts in the UK are still looking for more researches to further support its effectivity in assessing heart attack risk.